On Feb. 8, 7C students received an email from Stan Skipworth, Director of Campus Safety, alerting them that the Dean of Students Office of Claremont McKenna College had received reports over the last two weeks that “three on-campus parties may have involved students providing Xanax-laced or Rohypnol-laced drinks.”
The email also warned students to “be mindful at all times of what you are drinking and to keep an eye out for your fellow students.”
In an email to TSL, Skipworth wrote that Campus Safety “decided that the situation warranted a broader message to the campus community” after learning about the allegations from CMC.
“This decision was made not only because we felt that it was important to let our students know that these allegations had surfaced but also because we felt it was an excellent opportunity to remind them that the risks are real and can occur anywhere, not just here at the colleges,” Skipworth wrote.
He also wrote that the safety alert constituted “part of our ongoing effort to provide students, staff and faculty with tools and information to help keep them safe.”
However, some students have criticized Campus Safety for adopting a victim-blaming tone in the safety alert email, especially the part that asks students to “maintain constant visual contact with their cup” when at parties.
“The purpose of the email did not seem to inform the community of these events and ask for more information in investigating the case or offer any support to students that may have been impacted by this behavior,” Aiman Chaudhary PO '17 wrote in an email to TSL. “Instead it went on a rant on how keep oneself safe and make the 'community safer' thereby shifting the focus from the perpetrators to the victims. For a consortial resource like campus safety to do that sickens me and makes me feel all the more unsafe.”
Similarly, a Pomona sophomore who requested anonymity said that she was not taken seriously when she informally reported that she had been drugged at a party.
“My biggest concern is that the email was addressing how to prevent yourself from being drugged as opposed to how to stop the people drugging us, which is something that definitely happens a lot on this campus,” she said.
The student said that she wants to see the colleges and their students address the connection between drug culture and assault culture without placing the blame on victims.
“CMC I would say has a really prevalent culture and a really bad problem, but it’s not only that school. It’s the whole consortium, it’s the whole CUC,” she added.
Chaudhary also criticized the colleges for failing to inform students of the allegations in a timely manner. “Another important fact that was glossed over was that this was not a one time thing but happened on three separate occasions and was reported over the course of two weeks,” she wrote. “Why was this alert not sent out after the first allegation was made? Additionally, would campus safety have used the same sort of language had someone reported a break in and that their property had been tinkered with?”.
CMC administrators, including Acting Dean of Students Jeff Huang, Assistant Vice President of Investigations Marcie Gardner, and Title IX Coordinator Nyree Gray could not be reached for comment.